Kohler 14 RES Generator Locker Rotor: Continuous Issue
My Kohler 14 RES generator will not start automatically due to a LR (locked rotor) error code.
In December 2017 the original, 16 year old Kohler 11RMY generator for my off-grid house, was replaced with a Kohler 14 RES/original version DC2 controller generator. It worked beautifully from install until sometime this summer. I returned on July 29 from a long term out of the country job assignment to my wife telling me, "I don't know why the generator won't start when the voltage gets low". I checked the generator and saw the LR code on the display.
I cleared the error code on the generator and cleared the resulting error code on the two Trace SW5548 inverters and tried to manually start the generator. It cranked for 3 seconds and threw the LR error code. I cleared the error code and this time it started and ran so I shut it off manually and placed it back into the auto start mode. The inverters immediately started the generator automatically, and it charged the 24 2-volt Sun Xtender PVX-915T batteries.
A few days later I had the same error on the generator and went thru the same steps: clear error on the generator & inverters, manually start the generator, put generator in auto mode, and inverters auto start the generator and batteries charge. And, rinse & repeat every few days..I go thru the same steps every few days.
I owe approximately $1,300 in generator repair shop diagnostic service calls and replacement parts with no resolution in sight ($790 plus another 3 hour service call, so whatever that totals to now). The stepper motor (governor) was replaced with no change. The original motor was put back on the generator. The magnetic pick-up (speed sensor) was replaced but no change. I do not have any more money to spend on this without getting it solved. Once the code is cleared, the generator will start automatically but once it sits for a few days, the LR code comes back.
The generator repair tech is now telling me the inverters are the problem. He also told me the stepper motor was the issue. He also told me the mag pick-up was the issue. He also said:
1) He was the #1 residential repairman for Kohler distributor (Loftus) for 6 years and they would tell him to do everything he is doing to diagnose the issue if he were to call them
2) Loftus would charge $195 per hour to send a tech guy here to work on my generator and it is better to have him at $115 per hour
3) This is an intermittent issue and he can't duplicate it. However, he has seen the LR code on the generator when he comes out
4) He says the inverters are the issue: pins #3 & 4 should not have any voltage coming from the inverter when the generator is off but there is constant voltage of about 12 volts. He said the generator is a open/closed circuit and when the inverters should send voltage to the generator only when it needs to start. He thinks because he cannot find anything wrong on the generator it has to be the inverters. He believes the constant voltage did something to the control board.
I am at a loss. I can barely read an electrical meter. The Kohler manual states if the control board cannot pick up engine speed in the 1st 3 seconds of cranking it will stop and give the LR code until it is cleared. The inverters have a 5-start generator cycle, meaning they send the generator start signal 5 times before they error out. At that point the batteries just drop in voltage until the inverters shut the power to the house off or I see that the voltage is low, and go to manually start the generator.
Does anyone have a clue as to what causes this? Kohler's customer service is almost non-existent as they refer generator owners to the distributors and repair companies. I am at the point where I think I should cut my losses and get rid of this generator and get a different one. $1,300 towards an unresolved issue and new generators can be bought for $4,000 - $5,000, and used generators like this one for $2,400?
Modules: 5.395 kW:
(16) Kyocera KC130TM
(12) Kyocera KD-210GX-LPU
(3) Kyocera KU265-6MCA
(24) Trojan Solar SPRE 02 1255
(2) Zomework trackers (KC130TM modules, 8 per tracker, landscape position) - facing due south
(1) Unirac ground mounted fixed rack (all KD210 modules, landscape position) - facing slightly southwest
(1) Unirac roof mounted fixed rack (all KU265 modules, landscape postion) - facing due south
(2) Trace SW5548
(1) Outback MX60 - for (16) KC130 modules
(1) Flexmax60 - for (12) KD210 modules
(1) Flexmax60 - for (3) KU265 modules
(1) Kohler 14RESA propane